Apophasis and Psychoanalysis

Chapter
Part of the Interdisciplinary Approaches to the Study of Mysticism book series (INTERMYST)

Abstract

The problem of unknowing is central to the theory and practice of psychoanalysis. This paper argues that psychoanalysis is a contemporary site of apophatic discourse. Pseudo-Dionysius observed that: “If one considers these texts with a reverent eye one will see something that brings about unity and manifests a single empathy.” By casting a “reverent eye” on psychoanalysis, we can see that psychoanalytic theory and practice are saturated with apophatic maneuvers. The intuition of apophasis at work in each of the traditions of psychoanalysis (Freudian, Jungian, Kleinian, Lacanian, Existential, etc.) accounts for their family resemblance.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for PsychoanalysisMiddlesex UniversityLondonUK

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